BOGOTA, Colombia, May 11, 2012 /CNW/ - ECOPETROL (BVC: ECOPETROL; NYSE: EC;TSX: ECP), Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. (TSX: PRE; BVC: PREC; BOVESPA: PREB) and Petrominerales (TSX: PMG; BVC: PMGC) are pleased to announce that Oleoducto Bicentenario S.A. (Bicentenario) has closed a debt facility for approximately US$1.2 billion, the equivalent of COP$2,100,000 million in Colombian Pesos. The loan has been provided by a syndicate of ten Colombian Banks. Bicentenario is a special-purpose vehicle owned 55.97% by Ecopetrol S.A., 32.88 % by Pacific Rubiales Energy, 9.65% by Petrominerales, and the remainder owned by other E&P companies operating in Colombia. The credit facility will be drawn down by Bicentenario mainly for the following purposes: (i) advanced payment of part or total of the subordinated shareholders loans; (ii) to finalize the completion of Phase 1 of the project; (iii) working capital and financial costs; and (iv) general costs and expenses.
The facility has an interest rate of DTF (Colombian base rate for fixed rate deposits over 3 months) + 4.54%, a maturity of 12 years with a 1 year grace period. The loan is non-recourse to the sponsors. Bicentenario shareholders will be signing ship-or-pay contracts for the transportation of their own production.
This facility ensures funding for the completion of Phase 1 of the Bicentenario pipeline project. The project financing structure aims at a debt/equity ratio of 70/30% for the company. Further phases of the project will seek a similar structure once the final investment decision is made.
Phase 1 of the project is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2012. Phase 1 will see the Los Llanos prolific oil basin connected to the Caño Limón Colombian oil transportation system and on to the Port of Coveñas. Sponsor transportation costs will be significantly reduced, thus allowing increased production from the area. Phase 1 scope includes a 240 km x 42 inch pipeline from Araguaney Station to Banadía Station. This will enable transport capacity to be expanded by 120,000 bbls/day.
The debt facility has been structured by Corporación Financiera Colombiana S.A. (CORFICOLOMBIANA) and Bicentenario has been advised by Nexus Banca de Inversión throughout the financing of the project. The Lead Agent was Bancolombia S.A.
Ecopetrol is Colombia's largest integrated oil & gas company, where it accounts for 60% of total production. It is one of the top 50 oil companies in the world and the fourth largest oil company in Latin America. The Company is also involved in exploration and production activities in Brazil, Peru and the United States Gulf Coast, and owns the main refineries in Colombia, most of the network of oil and multiple purpose pipelines in the country, petrochemical plants, and is entering into the biofuels business.
Pacific Rubiales, a Canadian-based company and producer of natural gas and heavy crude oil, owns 100 percent of Meta Petroleum Corp., a Colombian oil operator which operates the Rubiales, Piriri and Quifa oil fields in the Llanos Basin in association with Ecopetrol, S.A., the Colombian national oil company, and 100 percent of Pacific Stratus Energy Corp. which operates the La Creciente natural gas field. The Company is focused on identifying opportunities primarily within the eastern Llanos Basin of Colombia as well as in other areas in Colombia and northern Peru. Pacific Rubiales has working interests in 43 blocks in Colombia, Peru and Guatemala.
Petrominerales Ltd. is an international oil and gas company operating in Latin America since 2002. Today, Petrominerales is the most active exploration company and the fourth largest oil producer in Colombia. Our high quality land base and multiyear inventory of exploration opportunities provides long-term growth potential for years to come.
Cautionary Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future (including, without limitation, statements regarding estimates and/or assumptions in respect of production, revenue, cash flow and costs, reserve and resource estimates, potential resources and reserves and the Company's exploration and development plans and objectives) are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect the current expectations or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements, and even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on the Company. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things: uncertainty of estimates of capital and operating costs, production estimates and estimated economic return; the possibility that actual circumstances will differ from the estimates and assumptions; failure to establish estimated resources or reserves; fluctuations in petroleum prices and currency exchange rates; inflation; changes in equity markets; political developments in Colombia, Guatemala or Peru; changes to regulations affecting the Company's activities; uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future; the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other geological data; and the other risks disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in the Company's annual information form dated March 14, 2012 filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Although the Company believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein.
For further information:
Christopher (Chris) LeGallais
Sr. Vice President, Investor Relations
+1 (647) 295-3700
Carolina Escobar V
Corporate Manager Investor Relations
+57 (1) 628-3970